Patients have never had more options for dental care. They can do a quick search on the internet or spin up a quick post asking their friends for recommendations on social media. This means that learning how to run a successful dental practice all comes down to hitting some key areas in the overall patient experience. Therefore, keeping you top of mind for annual cleanings, aka recurring revenue, and empowering them to be your best advocate for patient referrals, aka net new revenue.
With so many ways to increase a patient’s satisfaction with your practice, we decided to help by giving you 15 tips.
Tip #1 Engage your Employees
The most successful dental practices all have something in common, they focus on the details. You have an opportunity to provide a great patient experience through every interaction, even down to those micro-moments.
What is a micro-moment? A micro-moment is a tiny almost unnoticeable engagement between a patient and an employee. It’s a smile from the front desk as soon as a patient enters the room; it’s a quick joke to make someone who’s feeling uneasy, feel a little more comfortable.
These aren’t things you can’t necessarily add to your employee training. It all starts with you and how you engage with your team members daily. Create the micro-moments you want them to create for your patients.
Tip #2: Embrace Office Culture
Creating a happy and healthy office culture ripples into the patient experience. Do you have a mission to provide the best possible patient care? What about a mission providing the best possible employee experience?
Some of the most successful dental practices have found a way to create a vibrant culture. Employees want to be proud of the work they do and enjoy coming to work every day. Some ways you can build this is by holding regular team-building outings or exercises, holding 1 on 1’s with key staff members to inspire through leadership and help them with their career goals, or creating an internal culture club.
Tip #3: Expand your Dental Team
Determining what key hires to make next can be tricky. There are some formulas you can use to determine a few key hires like front desk and dental assistants.
Front Desk Formula: hire one individual for every $350,000-$400,000 of production.
Dental Assistant Formula: hire one individual for every $250,000 of production.
There isn’t always the perfect formula for staffing. You may have the perfect ratio on paper, but still, feel understaffed and overworked. This is more common than you might think.
There are many different ways to improve productivity. Most likely these are due to poor business systems like outdated practice management software, poor employee onboarding experience, no continuing education plan, and others. Your current staff members could be working more effectively, as long as they are given the right tools.
Tip #4: Train your Dental Team
When was the last time you thought about having your team brush up on their skills? Or what about your employee onboarding experience?
Incorporating continuous dental staff training is a key component to happy, productive, and effective employees. Investing in training shows your investment in their careers and can go a long way in promoting a healthy work environment that breeds success.
Quick Tip: Try a morning huddle to keep your team on track.
Tip #5: Create a Unique Dental Practice
Take a moment and think about the top 3 things that make you different from your top competitors. Can you easily define them?
If you said no, it’s time to get to work. Maybe you have state of the art imaging equipment that helps you provide better patient care. You could easily put this type of information at the forefront of your marketing efforts. In doing so, you’re saying that you’re investing in your practice, which means you're investing in your patient's health.
Exercise: Take a look at your top competitors and write down their top 3 unique identifiers.
Tip #6: Expand your Services
Expanding your services can help you gain a competitive edge, better meet the needs of your patients, and help you grow your practice by creating new lines of revenue. Just make sure to consider a few things to strike the right balance. You never want to overextend your staff or make changes that could hurt your overall patient experience. By carefully considering the resource allocations needed to make this change, you will be well on your way!
Tip #7: Capitalize on Working Hours
There are only so many hours in the workday. Maximizing your team’s productivity and your bookings are key. Software is a huge component of anyone’s workday, and it can make or break a team’s productivity.
Managing your bookings effectively is another key component to managing the workday. That’s why creating patient policies that require 24-hour cancellation notices, fee schedules for missed appointments, or by creating more flexible hours to better serve patients early in the morning or into the evening can help you maximize both you and your staff’s time.
Tip #8: Adopt User-friendly Scheduling Solutions
So what does user-friendly even mean? User-friendly is a way to describe someone’s experience, either good or bad when interacting with technology. This is especially important if you are giving your patients the ability to schedule their own appointments online. If patients can easily find your practices online and book an appointment directly on the spot, you've just secured a net-new patient without ever having to pick up the phone!
Denticon cloud-based software is built with the tools to allow your patients to schedule appointments online. You set the filters, and they pick a time that works for them. Once an appointment is requested, the patient will automatically get a confirmation email that contains your office information and directions.
Tip #9: Automate your Billing Desk
So you performed the service, now it’s time to get paid. Easy, right? That is not always the case. Tracking down patients to pay their co-pays and processing insurance claims can create headaches for everyone involved and can be expensive.
Automated billing can help streamline this workflow helping you get paid faster, let your staff focus on other areas of the business, and give you a little more peace of mind.
Tip #10: Provide Flexible Dental Financing Options
Let’s face it, dental care can get expensive quickly, and not everyone can afford dental insurance. That’s why practices are beginning to offer their own flexible dental financing options allowing patients to make monthly payments towards services rendered. Other 3rd party options can include accepting CareCredit, a company that offers lines of credits that are strictly used for covering medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Tip #11: Remember to Engage
Conducting regular patient engagement helps close the feedback loop you need to get insights about their experience. Through engaging with your patients while they are getting their dental care is the perfect opportunity to ask, “How was your experience today?” Effectively communicating with patients will help you improve patient experiences and identify areas of improvement to attract new patients.
Tip #12: Leverage Patient Referrals
One of the most cost-effective forms of advertising is by asking for patient referrals. There are many ways you can do this:
- A post-interaction email asking them about their experience and to provide 3 referrals if they had a positive experience.
- Create a referral contest. Each referral increases their chances of winning the prize.
- Provide referral cards they can easily hand out after their visit.
Tip #13: Stay Actionable with Goals
Creating attainable goals can help improve employee morale and create an upbeat office environment. It’s never encouraged to put financial goals in place because it can hurt the quality of patient care. However, you can set aspirational goals that can lead to greater productivity and more revenue for your business.
Denticon cloud-based software has a built in reporting dashboard that allows you to assign and track goals across all your providers. The figures on the dashboard pull directly from your data in Denticon in an intuitive and easily digestible format that is especially useful for morning huddles.
Tip #14: Embrace Digital Marketing
Digital marketing can seem like a big, scary, and cloudy term. But it’s essential to growing your business in today’s modern world. We suggest doing some light reading or Google searching to learn more about what it is and how it can help your practice. By embracing new online channels for advertising or communications, you will show up in places your ideal patients are engaging in every day and will make you part of the community.
Tip #15: Look Into Branded Merchandise
Look for little ways to promote your practice. The key to choosing branded merchandise and making a wise investment is by thinking about practical things that people will use in their daily lives. Something they can easily take with them and solves a common need.
Ready to make your dental practice stand out?
By following the tips above, we’re confident you will make your dental practice stand out from the crowd. If you ever want to talk more about your business goals, our team at Planet DDS is standing by to talk with you.